End of an era
JACKSON – After decades of public service, Northampton County Manager Wayne Jenkins is saying goodbye.
On Monday, Jenkins presented the Board of Commissioners with a letter announcing his retirement during their regular meeting.
“It is with much thought, prayer and appreciation that I take this opportunity to inform you that I plan to retire from employment as the Northampton County Manager on March 29, 2013,” Jenkins wrote in the letter.
He continued, “Please know that I have truly enjoyed my years of service serving this Board of Commissioners, all previous Board of Commissioners and all citizens of Northampton County. I feel both blessed for the opportunity and proud to have served all citizens of this great county with fairness and respect.”
He concluded by wishing the county continued success in the future.
Commission Board Chairwoman Virginia Spruill was the first board member to react to Jenkins announcement by saying it was something the board knew would eventually occur, albeit bittersweet.
“The citizens of Northampton County will lose an employee who has served us in the highest order with commitment and dedication,” she said.
Spruill said the county would now have to look for another county manager “ever mindful that over the past 12 years the high standards of that position have already been set.”
“We know your retirement would allow you to spend more time with your family doing the things that you and they enjoy,” she said.
Jenkins thanked Spruill for her comments and said he has enjoyed his time with Northampton County government.
“I assure you that I had the best job available in this county,” he said. “I’ve served with some very honorable, honorable individuals, five of whom are sitting here today.”
He added the decision did not come lightly and it was something he had wrestled with for the last year or so.
“I’ve had the opportunity to be part of a lot of good things that have happen in this county and for that I’m grateful,” he said. “And I just hope and I pray that as I leave, with the transition ahead that, first of all, it will be smooth, and I leave the county better than what I found it.”
Commission Vice Chairman Robert Carter echoed Spruill’s sentiments.
“We ask that you not get too far from Northampton County,” he said. “We wish you well.”
“I too wish you well,” Commissioner Fannie Greene said. “You’ve been a great county manager.”
While Jenkins will be missed by county officials, citizens who regularly attend commissioners meetings said they too will miss Jenkins for his knowledge of county matters and his accessibility to citizens.
“He’s put 110 percent in (his work),” said Albert Vann of the Ashley’s Grove community. “I think Wayne does a good, good job. …He’ll be missed.”
Roger West of Lake Gaston praised Jenkins for his work with the Lake Gaston Weed Council, the Lake Gaston Association and with the public in general.
“This county will be at a lost he’s never failed to answer questions and get information to any citizen,” West said. “I’m really going to miss him.”
Jenkins was hired in a 5-0 vote by the commissioners in early November of 2000.
A 1968 graduate of Northampton County High School, he first began his employment with the county in 1982 as Water Supervisor and Emergency Management Coordinator. He served in that dual position until 1992 at which time he was promoted to Public Works Director.
In the meantime, Jenkins attended continuing education classes at NC State University, East Carolina University and the Institute of Government (IG) in Chapel Hill. Listed among his IG courses were budgeting and advanced financial planning.
Jenkins also had a 22-year career in the North Carolina Army National Guard.